Consumer Fraud

Class-Action Suit Against Hall of Famer George Brett

The following article was written by Cyle Kiger.

George Brett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 after being a fan favorite in Kansas City for 21 years.  Brett is now the president of the Washington-based company, Brett Bros. Sports International Incorporated.  The Hall of Famer now faces a class-action suit for falsely advertising necklaces and bracelets.

The lawsuit against Brett Bros. Sports International Inc. was filed in a federal court in Des Moines, Iowa.  It claims that Brett’s company falsely advertised that their necklaces and bracelets relieve pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back, among other sports fatigue injuries.  The lawsuit alleges that the company violated the state’s Consumer Frauds Act and has been unjustly enriched.

Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices in the sale, lease or advertisement of a product or service.  Filing a lawsuit that claims violation of the act can provide temporary and permanent injunctive relief, consumer reimbursement, costs and attorney fees and civil penalties up to $40,000.

Iowa enacted the “Private Right of Action” law in summer of 2009.  It provides consumers a law that covers areas with the need for private remedies.

Seth Thompson, a consumer who bought a necklace for $30 dollars, is suing Brett Bros. Sports Inc. because he claims that they misrepresented the product being sold. He bought the necklace at the College Baseball World Series and since then has said the product is “useless to him.”  He claims he bought the necklace because he saw Brett’s endorsement of the products, and hoped that the necklace could reduce stress and fatigue, but none of the benefits advertised were felt by the consumer.

Unjust enrichment is a viable claim for the plaintiffs if Brett’s company is found to violate the Consumer Fraud Act.  In this case, if Brett Bros. Sports International Inc. is found to be fraudulent, the company would have been enriched unjustly at the misfortune of thousands of consumers who purchased product.  The federal court in Des Moines may order restitution for Thompson and the thousands of other consumers in the class-action suit if Brett’s company is found guilty.